Balfron, Stirlingshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Stirlingshire Gotoarrow.png Balfron

Parish #472

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Balfron. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.


BALFRON, a parish, in the county of Stirling, 6 miles (E. by N.) from Drymen. There is an opinion that this place has been called by its present name, which is said to signify "the town of sorrow" or "mourning," from a dreadful calamity experienced by the original inhabitants, who, having left their children in their tents, and departed to a spot at a short distance, for the performance of religious rites, found, upon returning, that they had been all destroyed by wolves, with which the neighbourhood was infested. The church is a very plain structure, rebuilt in 1832. The Relief, United Secession, and Burgher denominations, have each a place of worship.[1]

The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Balfron as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available.

Church Records

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1687-1854 1041971
Marriages: 1691-1854 1041971
Deaths: No entries
Condition of Original Registers—

Index: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.

Births: The records are blank June 1692–October 1693. The first part of this record appears to be an old transcript. Two leaves of the original are extant, with entries June 1709–June 1711, which embrace the names of witnesses of the births, wanting in the transcript. Also, a separate record for dissenters’ children 1796–1819, on thirty–four pages after births for 1820, the continuation of, 1820–1854, is placed after the regular record for 1854.

Marriages: Proclamations; the first part of the record is an old transcript. It contains no entries for 1694, or 1697, and is blank, excluding one entry for 1714, July 1701–May 1716. There is, however, one leaf of the original extant, containing entries August 1709–May 1711. The record is blank also March 1723–May 1725. The fact of marriage is not infrequently added to the entries prior to 1727; very rarely after that date.

Source: Key To The Parochial Registers Of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The Kirk session was made up of he minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

There are no known records for this parish. 

Nonconformist Church Records

A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.

Holm of Balfron General Associate Secession, later United Presbyterian Church


When the parish and church of Balfron became vacant in 1730, there was great disagreement about who the new minister should be. Some of the parishioners withdrew from the Establishment and adhered to the Associate Presbytery. A minister was eventually settled and a church was erected in 1739. A new church was built in 1790 and another in 1861 on the banks of the Endrick river. The minister and the majority of the congregation adhered to the General Associate Anti-burgher Synod at the Breach in 1747. In 1752, a portion of the congregation resident in Kippen parish broke away and built a place of worship in Buchlyvie. The minister went with them and the Holm congregation called a new minister. Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of Scotland 1851, states that there was a United Original Seceders congregation in the parish, and this is likely it. They later united with the Balfron United Presbyterian Church, formerly the Relief Church, in 1880.

Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Records—                                                   Family History Library Film Number

Baptisms 1742–1791                                     0889482 item 1
Session Minutes 1742–1787, 1796–1812         0889482item 1
Accounts 1742–1787, 1796–1812                   0889482 item 1
Baptisms, Deaths, and Minutes 1813–1864      0889482 item 1

Managers’ Minutes and Some Accounts 1793–1802
Avowal and Renewal of Adherence to the National and Solemn League and Covenant 1755, 1758, 1769, 1777
Minutes for Society for Religious Purposes 1836
Rolls of Members 1812

Note: Available at the Stirling Council Archives, Stirling, Scotland, records CH3/425.

Balfron Relief Church, later United Presbyterian


This congregation originated with some calico printers, previously in connection with the Relief Church, who had come to the area for work from elsewhere in the country. They applied for and obtained a supply of sermons from the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow in 1793. Church built in 1797. This congregation joined the United Presbyterian Church in 1847, as did most Relief congregations. They united with the Holm of Balfron United Presbyterian congregation in 1880.

Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.


Managers’ Minutes 1833–1891                                                                                                                               Liquidation of Debt, Minutes and Subscriptions 1845–1846                                                                                                 Cash Book 1840–1903

Note: Available at the Stirling Council Archives, Stirling, Scotland, records CH3/426.

Balfron Associate Burgher Church


This congregation originated in the same circumstances as the Relief Church mentioned above. The persons who had been connected with the Secession Church would not join in the movement for a Relief congregation but insisted upon having a place of worship in their own connection. They therefore applied to the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Stirling for a supply of sermons, which was granted in 1798. Church built in 1800. The print–field, which had drawn so many work people to Balfron, was removed after a time to Campsie. The population of the place decreased and, shortly after the minister’s death in 1821, the Secession congregation became extinct.

Source: Annals and Statistics Of The United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.


The extent of records is unknown.

Balfron Free Church

See Killearn parish.

Balfron Catholic Church


The congregation was formed in 1850 but was served from various locations until 1900.


For records 1850–1858, see Lennoxtown in Campsie parish.

Balfron Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–Day Saints

Records—                                    Family History Library Film Number

Record of Members 1847–1855      104149 item 7

Civil Registration Records

Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.

See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records

Balfron was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Ayr until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Stirling. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Stirling and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Ayr.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Stirling. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Stirling and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 91-101. Adapted. Date accessed: 07 February 2014.

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